Press Release

COVID-19 vaccines shipped by COVAX arrived in Maldives

08 March 2021

  • Male’, 07 March 2021 - Today, Maldives received the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine doses shipped via the COVAX Facility, a partnership between CEPI, Gavi, UNICEF and WHO. This is a historic step towards our goal to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines globally, in what will be the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history. The delivery is part of a first wave of arrivals that will continue in the coming days and weeks.
Caption: UNICEFMaldives/2021/Madhoship

COVAX shipped 12,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India. The arrival in Male’ City marks the first vaccine delivery to the Maldives by the COVAX Facility in its unprecedented effort to deliver at least two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021. This consignment is part of the COVAX allocation of 113,850 vaccine doses to the Maldives that the COVAX Facility will deliver in batches in 2021. With approximately, 35 percent of these vaccines expected to be delivered by May 2021.

“Maldives has received acclaim for its inoculation drive internationally, with more than 145,768 people receiving their first dose by the end of 6 March 2021. One of this administration’s key policies is to provide fair and equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccines for all the people living in the Maldives – Maldivian or otherwise" said Minister of State for Health, Dr Shah Abdulla Mahir.

Carmen Van Heese, OIC for Representative, Maldives noted that, “the arrival of the COVAX supplied vaccines contribute to Maldives’ efforts to vaccinate those at high risk of exposure and those who are most vulnerable to developing severe illness from COVID-19. UNICEF is committed to working with the Government of Maldives in its outstanding efforts in ensuring that the most vulnerable are reached”.

"The ACT-Accelerator partnership, launched by WHO and partners, has supported the fastest, most coordinated, and successful global effort in history to develop tools to fight COVID-19. Its vaccine pillar - COVAX – aimed to and delivered COVID-19 vaccines at a record time and promoted fair and equitable access to all,” said Dr Shushil Dev Pant, Acting WHO Representative to Maldives, “All vaccines supplied through COVAX have received WHO EUL status and one of the best to fight against COVID-19. The vaccines delivered today and in future from COVAX will support the current momentum of vaccination and increase the reach of this life saving tool to protect the most vulnerable.”

The COVAX Facility is generously funded by partner governments, including the Governments of Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Qatar, the United States and the European Commission as well as foundations and corporations. A full list of COVAX donor partners and pledges is available at:…

The Maldives had received 100,000 syringes and 1,000 safety boxes for COVID-19 vaccinations from the COVAX Facility on 23 February from UNICEF’s humanitarian warehouse in Dubai as part of the first wave of COVID-19-related syringe shipments. 

UNICEF has been supporting the Government of Maldives with public communication around demand generation for the COVID-19 vaccines including public advocacy, community mobilisation and training sessions for key partners; as well as strengthen immunization cold chain systems through procurement of key equipment and provision of technical expertise. 

WHO continues to provide all necessary technical support to COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in the country and is actively engaged in all aspects of the COVID-19 vaccine deployment. This includes support provided in the development of the National Vaccine Deployment Plan, facilitation of the country’s applications to COVAX facility and enabling NRA for regulatory and vaccine approval process.  It has provided relevant training to health professionals and policy makers. The support provided in the country’s cold chain system, including deployment to a majority of islands, such as walk-in coolers, walk-in freezers and deep freezers contribute to the capacity of vaccine management for the next decade.

This shipment of vaccines will be a critical contribution to the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan, and the Government’s inclusive approach which includes the free vaccination for all people resident in the Maldives, regardless of their citizenship or legal status. Government of India’s contribution of 200,000 vaccines have already helped launch the vaccination campaign in the Maldives and to date, 145,768 people (around 36 percent of the target population) have been vaccinated.

For several months, COVAX partners have been supporting governments and partners in readiness efforts, in preparation for this moment. 

The United Nations system in the Maldives is committed to working with the Government of Maldives in the pandemic response to ensure that no one is left behind. Supporting the vaccination of the eligible population through COVAX will go a long way to restoring normalcy, addressing the attrition of social and economic gains and paving the way for socio-economic recovery. 

“At this critical moment the UN is mobilising global action for a multilateral response to COVID-19. With the arrival of the first batch of vaccines the Maldives, provided via the COVAX facility, the UN’s close partnership with the Government of Maldives against COVID-19, to support the national response efforts and vaccination rollout, to ensure safety of all, and leave no one behind in our road to recovery”, said Catherine Haswell, UN Resident Coordinator in Maldives.

UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, - “No one is safe until everyone is safe”.  

UN entities involved in this initiative

United Nations Children’s Fund
World Health Organization

Other entities involved in this initiative

GAVI, the vaccine alliance

Goals we are supporting through this initiative